Last year I visited Sheffield. It was an absolutely spontaneous idea for a trip, and I think you would agree, these always turn out to be the best. I’d heard good things about the place, so I knew it would be nice, but didn’t expect any wonders. For once I am happy to say, I was very, very wrong.
Sheffield is one of those places where you find yourself asking, how did I not know about this? I spent 3 years doing my degree in Birmingham, which is only an hour’s train journey away. So, in order to correct this utter and unforgivable ignorance, and to combine it with a last minute offer to catch a Florence + The Machine gig, I jumped on the train and headed back North.
Quick snap before dinner – the Winter Garden near the city centre.
After-dinner stroll around town.
While doing our research, we quickly realised how close Sheffield was to the Peak District. A short Pinterest session later we discovered Bakewell, the loveliest little village you could possibly imagine, snuggled in between the peaks… And the birthplace of the bakewell tart. We were officially hooked.
The first thing you notice once you’re out of the bus, is the lush greenery, and the multitude of lovely, perfectly preened English gardens.
Honestly, it’s outlandishly green. Probably thanks to all the rain – we had a bit of a wet day, but that didn’t take away from the cobbled street charm.
Aside from the numerous bakeries we expected (the clue is in the village name!), there were some quality traditional sweet shops, as well as an amazing cheese shop, which I naturally couldn’t pass without literally raiding.
We continued our little tour over the river and into the unknown. Once we got hungry, it was picnic time, and of course the cheese came in handy.
We hopped on the bus again, and it took us straight to our next stop, Chatsworth House. It’s a lavishly decorated stately home, which, once you’ve got over the pricey admission, turns out to be a definite must-see.
I am so ordering one of these for my own living room (once I actually get a house of my own, that is).
A Beauty-and-the-Beast sort of library to die for. Another must-have in my own house one day.
The sun finally broke through the thick cloud cover, and we took this for a sign that it was time to stuff ourselves silly with bakewell tarts. We then continued our tour around the grounds, which boasted a greenhouse, a bunch of decorative waterfalls, and endless brilliantly green plains and gardens.
Me enjoying the sunshine.
Apparently we hadn’t had enough of the gardens however, as on the next day we went straight into the Sheffield Winter Gardens to explore. It’s such a brilliant idea to have an all-year-round park right in the city centre. It was really cosy inside, with coffee shops and benches, and you we felt like we were somewhere in the tropics because of all the exotic plants around. Brilliant in winter!
However, that didn’t do enough to cure our wanderlust. We simply had to head out to the wilderness of the Peak District again, this time making our way towards Baslow. We asked the bus driver to drop us off in the middle of nowhere, not for an unexplainable desire to cross the moors on foot, but to explore a carefully researched area called Curbar edge.
I’m quite the animal lover, so you can imagine my utter delight when we ran into these lovelies. I tried to suppress my excited scream when I saw the little fluff of a calf, but only because I saw the size of its mum’s horns first.
Brilliant views of the surrounding plains and villages were the main reason we embarked on our rather long walk through the countryside.Was it worth it? You tell me!
And my personal favourite for fairly obvious reasons, I would say. The candy floss sky, the panorama of endless fields, and me, looking humbled before the great outdoors. Perhaps a less obvious reason was that this same spot served as the shooting location for a scene from Pride and Prejudice, one of my favourite English stories. Cool, huh?
Whether for any of my reasons, or another, don’t miss out on an opportunity to explore Sheffield and the surrounding area. There are a number of absolutely stunning places in the Peak District that we didn’t get to visit, and they’re all on my list for next time!